Affordable homes get a big green boost
We believe that healthy homes are the building blocks for thriving, affordable and environmentally sound communities. Through our partnership with Habitat for Humanity, we are focused on bringing the practical financial and health benefits of green building and maintenance to families of modest incomes. By showing that green building and efficient maintenance of a home can truly keep more money in a family’s wallet, we also hope this effort has a ripple effect on all homeowners nationwide.
I’m so proud of this initiative, because it’s having a real impact on families’ health and their ability to save money each month. For instance, in St. Louis, Missouri a homeowner saved so much in utility bills that she was able to purchase everything her children needed for the new school year, an annual expense she could not previously afford. And in Grayson County Texas after months of 100+ degree temperatures, a homeowner reported that her highest electric bill was only $100. These kinds of savings are real and can often mean the difference between making the ends meet each month or not.When we started down this housing path, many were skeptical that we could help non-profits build homes that were ‘green’ and affordable. I think that’s because when people hear the term ‘green building,’ most think of really expensive homes covered with solar panels, bamboo floors, or metal exteriors that make them look like spaceships. In other words, homes that most people wouldn’t want to live in or can’t afford to build.But our definition of a ‘green building’ is different. For us, a ‘green building’ is simply one built with environmentally friendly materials such as nontoxic insulation, caulk and paint, and that uses water-saving faucets and energy-efficient appliances. And since our primary goal is to provide homes for working families, we want these ‘green’ homes to be affordable to own and maintain over the long term.
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